South Carolina went on the road to open SEC play against Missouri. The Gamecocks won the first two games of the series but lost the last one. On Friday night Evan Beal pitched Carolina to a 4-1 victory. On Saturday the teams played a double header in anticipation of inclement Sunday weather. USC and Nolan Belcher won a pitcher’s duel in the first game 2-0. In the second game there as no offense and Carolina fell 4-0.
Conventional wisdom dictates that winning an SEC road series is nothing to sneeze at, but this doesn’t seem to be a very good Missouri team. They lost their two opening series against Southern Miss and Memphis. In all six of those games the Tigers gave up at least 5 runs. South Carolina didn’t score 5 runs in any games this weekend.
The offense is becoming more of a concern. Most of the infield lineup is set, but the other positions vary as does the production. Dantlzer, 1B, Schrock, 2B, Vergason, 3B, and Pankake, SS, are set and are, for the most part, doing fine. On Saturday, the outfield was without Saiko and English, two starters, but the numbers were terrible. In the two games starting outfielders were 4 of 19 with 6 strikeouts and a walk. There were also no RBIs.
Designated hitters had a similarly bad weekend going 1-11 with 5 strikeouts. DH and the outfield positions have to be positions that generate offense. Saiko and English are needed back ASAP with Arkansas coming to town. RF and DH will have to produce along side them. Those positions have been in a constant state of flux because no one has stepped up and solidified himself as the man for either one. Until those become consistent don’t expect the offense to be consistent either.
On to good news – we have some good, good pitching. Missouri isn’t a threat to go to Omaha, but the pitching was, with few exceptions excellent. First there was Evan Beal. On Friday night, he struck out 10 and only allowed one run while pitching into the seventh. He made a strong case that he should get a start against the Hogs this weekend.
Nolan Belcher pitched into the ninth inning on Saturday and didn’t allow a run. He hasn’t allowed a run in a while. His streak is currently at 26 1/3 innings. Tyler Webb picked up two saves in two innings of flawless work. Adam Westmoreland continues his hot streak as well. He played in game one and game three. In the first game he pitched 1 1/3 innings on one hit, no run baseball. In game three he allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings of work. He seems to be the go to guy for middle or long relief. When Jordan Montgomery comes back there will be some hard decisions for Coaches Holbrook and Meyers.
A few other things from the weekend: USC has now played 3 double headers this season. They have lost the second game twice. Missouri set a stadium record for attendance Friday night with 3,145. It was the smallest crowd South Carolina had played in all season. The previous low was at Clemson. That record would be shattered on Saturday when 826 paid attendance was announced. Actual attendance may have been closer to 100 according to Tommy Moody and Andy Demetra’s radio broadcast.
The Gamecocks head to Charleston to play The Citadel on Tuesday before returning home for an important series against Arkansas.